The 2 Factors That Separate Affordable Auto Insurance From Cheap Auto Insurance
Owning and maintaining a car is already expensive, so it’s no surprise that people are looking for cheap auto insurance to keep their transportation expenses from getting even higher. But bargain-basement insurance can actually cost you more in the long run. There are two major factors you ought to consider when choosing insurance; here’s how you can tell the difference between truly affordable auto insurance and just plain cheap auto insurance:
- Quality of Customer Care
Often, insurance companies offer lower rates by making customer service cuts.When you’re comparing auto insurance quotes, use your initial customer experience as a guide and ask what kind of access you’ll have to your insurance company in the future. Will you have a dedicated agent? Will you be able to reach someone by telephone 24/7? Will you always speak to a live person, or be directed through an automated system? These are all questions to ask.
- Adequate Coverage
Before you can make an educated decision on a policy, you need to understand the three basic types of car insurance:
- Liability Coverage
Liability insurance provides coverage in case you are deemed to be at fault in an accident. It will cover both the costs of any property you damage and the medical bills of anyone in the other car who was injured. Most states have a minimum requirement for liability coverage, and it’s illegal to drive without it. Keep in mind though that if you cause an accident and the damage exceeds your policy’s limit, you’ll be on the hook for whatever that amount is.
- Collision Coverage
Collision insurance covers the cost of your car if you are in an accident. If the cost to repair your car exceeds its value, then your insurance company will pay you the value of your car. If a car is old and low in value, it may not be worth carrying collision insurance. But if your car is new or expensive, this is absolutely essential coverage.
- Comprehensive Coverage
Cars can get damaged in many ways besides accidents, but neither of the previous two types of insurance cover theft, fire damage, vandalism, weather damage or similar incidents. This requires what is called comprehensive coverage.
There are other kinds of insurance that are less common, such as personal injury protection and uninsured motorist protection, that you might also want to look into. When you’re comparing policies from various insurance providers, be sure to look at the kinds of coverage and the amount of coverage you’re being quoted for; saving a little each month may not be worth it if your $25,000 car is totaled and you find out you don’t have collision coverage.
Keep in mind also that age and sex may factor into the rates you get. According to research, men will pay over $15,000 more than women for car insurance over their lifetimes, and 16- to 25-year-olds have the highest rates. It’s also important to have continuous coverage, as lapses can indicate to insurance companies that you’re a high-risk client.
What’s the verdict? Are you willing to sacrifice customer service and take on more financial risk in case of an accident in order to get cheap auto insurance, or would you prefer to pay a little more for a quality policy? Do you feel the same way about home insurance or life insurance?